Welcome to the NBA offseason, where we’ve already witnessed a three-time Defensive Player of the Year traded for a massive bounty. Potential Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades are looming next. But could the 2022 offseason also be the time when Damian Lillard is traded from the Portland Trail Blazers after 10 years with the organization?
Most signs would point to no, with the expectation continuing to be that Lillard will remain loyal. The Blazers may not currently be the team everyone is placing in the 2023 NBA Finals, but the roster they’ve assembled should lead to a competitive year, where they can get back to the playoffs.
Trading for Jerami Grant and signing Gary Payton II are both strong moves, but is it enough to move the needle for Lillard? How does Portland’s existing superstar feel about the current direction of the Blazers?
Damian Lillard extension not a guarantee
The Portland Trail Blazers have Damian Lillard under contract through the 2023-24 season with a player option for another year as is, but they’re looking to add another two seasons to the back end of the deal, though the point guard has yet to sign.
Recent buzz from Sam Amick of The Athletic suggests Lillard may have his reasons for waiting to sign his name on the dotted line thus far.
It’s hard to determine exactly what this means, or when these comments occurred. While the story is from July 1, at that point we’d already seen the Blazers make several moves to improve the roster.
- PG – Damian Lillard/Gary Payton II*
- SG – Anfernee Simons/Shaedon Sharpe*
- SF – Josh Hart/Keon Johnson
- PF – Jerami Grant*
- C – Jusuf Nurkic
But maybe their additions aren’t quite to the standard Lillard had in mind. Maybe he wanted a star, and while the argument could be made that Grant is a near-star, and there’s hope for Sharpe, the seventh overall pick, to become a star, they aren’t close to being on Lillard’s level.
Could he be frustrated with general manager Joe Cronin’s direction so far?
Our latest indication may come via his social media account.
To be fair, like many other times athletes post things on their social media, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s directed at their employers, or the Blazers in this case. Then again, maybe he really is bummed out by not being linked as a major player in the Kevin Durant trade talks, he definitely seems on board with adding the two-time NBA Champion. Who wouldn’t be?